The predictions are out and, so far, the only major journalist boldly coming out and saying the Islanders will make the playoffs is...ta dah...Greg Logan, the only reporter actually on the team 24/7. A whole bunch of them have predicted the Islanders will be in the mix for the last two spots, but Logan is the only one going out on a limb.
The rest can say what they want. We saw what happened last year and we know where Carolina was picked the year they won the Cup. That's okay.
But what really drives me nuts are the reporters who are either not doing their homework or simply being lazy. Of all the prediction columns I've read this week, one word continued to pop up and make me shake my head.
As in, "the Islanders were raided in the free agent market."
How could the Islanders have been raided when there was only one player (Ryan Smyth) they continued to negotiate with before and after midnight, July 1? Did I miss something? Were there reports of the Islanders sweating out 11th-hour negotiations with Jason Blake or Tom Poti or Viktor Kozlov or anyone else?
The Islanders were not raided. They just said goodbye to those guys, wished them well and turned their focus to other players. The Sabres, THEY were raided. (Nevertheless, Buffalo is still going to contend in the East. They are that deep).
Part of the perception problem is my fault. If I could do the days leading up to July 1 over again, I would have recommended that Garth publicly state he was still negotiating with Ryan's agent but the team was prepared to part ways with Blakey, Vik and the rest. I don't know if Garth would have agreed with the advice, but I should have pushed for it. Even after all these years, still learning on the job.